Mrazek deserves a shot in $300,000 Del Mar Futurity (G1) on September 7.

The chestnut colt drew off to a 3 1/4-length front-running victory in Wednesday’s Graduation S. at Del Mar to begin a Square Eddie/Doug O’Neill/ Reddam Racing exacta with stablemate Ralis, who was a game second.

Mrazek earned his first stakes win in that 5 1/2-furlong contest, stopping the clock in 1:03.77 under Mario Gutierrez. He opened his career with a 5 1/4-length romp going 4 1/2 furlongs at Santa Anita Park on May 31 against state-bred rivals, then ran well against open competition in the Santa Anita Juvenile S. and Los Alamitos’ Summer Juvenile Championship in his next two tries.

The Santa Anita Juvenile S. was captured by his stablemate Found Money, yet another Square Eddie/O’Neill/Reddam prospect, while the Birdstone colt Swipe just prevailed by a head in the Summer Juvenile Championship for trainer Keith Desormeaux and owner Big Chief Racing.

Mrazek (who is named for Detroit Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek) put all that behind him in the Graduation, sailing home with Gutierrez just showing him the whip a couple times once clear of the others to keep his mind on business. The California-bred earned a nice 95 BRIS Speed rating for the effort.

One day after the Graduation, O’Neill was praising his current group of two-year-olds, including Mrazek, and mentioned that the $150,000 I’m Smokin S. on September 4 as well as the Del Mar Futurity are now under consideration for the talented youngster. It all comes down to Saturday’s Best Pal S. (G2) at Del Mar, which features not only Found Money and Swipe but – you guessed it – another Square Eddie/O’Neill/Reddam runner named Nyquist.

“Nyquist has been, to us, the leader of the pack so far,” O’Neill stated. “But we’ve got to see him do it on Saturday, of course.”

It wouldn’t be the first time a trainer has had multiple entries in a race, and Mrazek’s performance in the Graduation should qualify him for a shot in the seven-furlong Del Mar Futurity. Not to take anything away from the six-furlong I’m Smokin, but it’s time to test his mettle and the Del Mar Futurity is the perfect spot.

And if not the Del Mar Futurity, then the $300,000 FrontRunner S. (G1) at Santa Anita Park is scheduled for September 26. That race, set for 1 1/16 miles, would be just right for assessing Mrazek’s distance limitations.

After all, there’s a little race called the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) taking place in Kentucky about a month later at the same distance.

Mrazek photo courtesy of Benoit Photos